For the past three months, I knew that I would be working in Mumbai, India, at a non-profit called Ummeed. Ummeed provides various services to families who have children with development disorders. However, everything else about this fellowship remains a mystery. What would it be like to work in Mumbai? What would I be doing on a day-to-day basis? Who are the other fellows? How is the neighborhood where I will be staying? What will the fellows and I be doing at orientation? The abyss of unknowns keeps crowding my mind.
To get some leverage, I initially attempted setting expectations for what to get out of this fellowship. My previous international development work taught me the opposite – you cannot come in with stringent expectations. I have to be as open-minded as possible. I also recognize that I may have to change my habits, and work within the sociocultural dynamics and society norms of Ummeed and of India. For that, I hope to earn the trust and respect of my colleagues and the families Ummeed serves. However, all of this is easier said than done. This year will be filled with a plethora of challenges. But I’m excited to take them head on.
Finally, I am looking forward to meeting the other fellows. Its clear to me that this group is so diverse in every aspect: education, experience, interests, future aspirations, etc. Getting to know everyone on a professional level and a personal level will be a huge opportunity to learn so much more about the development sector.
Yeah, I’ll admit it, this post was too sincere and really boring. The next entries will be more intriguing!